Social anxiety disorder can be difficult for many to overcome, with intense feelings making it difficult to connect with others and tend to social needs. However, social anxiety can be intimately connected to a person’s sobriety. Exploring how social anxiety affects substance use can inform the best approach to a sober lifestyle and an effective approach to rehab in Hawaii at Hawaii Island Recovery.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder that brings a persistent feeling of anxiety, worry, or fear in social situations. Not everyone who feels uncomfortable in social situations, experiences stage fright, or other stresses connected to social events may necessarily have a social anxiety disorder. Rather, social anxiety is a unique form of this kind of fear, with an individual experiencing not just these consistent and challenging feelings, but also having such feelings impact their ability to connect with others or engage in social events at all.
Some of the hallmarks of social anxiety include:
- Pervasive fear of social situations where an individual feels they will be judged negatively
- Persistent worry of embarrassment
- Fearing that others are watching or scrutinizing every action
- Avoiding social situations where an individual will be the center of attention, or avoiding social situations because an individual will feel as if they are the center of attention, even when there is no evidence to suggest it
- Fearing that others will notice a person’s discomfort, anxiety, or resistance
- Expecting stress or fear in social situations
- Hyper focusing on a person’s own perceived flaws in social situations
- Consistently expecting the worst-case scenario during social interactions
Each individual will have their own unique experiences with social anxiety. Working with professionals to address the effects of social anxiety on a person’s personal, social, and professional life is incredibly important for lasting healing and recovery.
How Social Anxiety Disorder Affects Sobriety
Those navigating the challenges of social anxiety disorders may turn to drugs or alcohol in order to self-medicate or otherwise quell its intense and uncomfortable symptoms. Exploring the relationship between social anxiety and substance use is paramount to not only develop an effective treatment plan at Hawaii Island Recovery but also to promote a healthy approach to tending to social needs.
Social Anxiety Disorder and Isolation
Isolation or avoidance of social events is a common decision made by those with social anxiety disorders, and many may avoid these gatherings due to perceived stresses that may manifest. These feelings of fear and worry can be a preventive barrier to tending to social needs. However, this can also create a lifestyle steeped in feelings of isolation or disconnect, and these intense feelings themselves can inform substance use. Anxiety, depression, isolation, loneliness, and more can all inform a person’s use of drugs or alcohol, with social anxiety begetting these feelings.
Challenges Seeking Support
Pervasive fears of being judged or embarrassed can also make it difficult for those with social anxiety to reach out for help regarding their social needs or substance use in the first place. This barrier to professional treatment can allow the use of addictive substances to continue to develop unaddressed, and can often lead to substance use disorder (SUD) or addiction as substance use continues.
Overcoming this feeling of fear, using anonymous call lines, or contacting facilities directly with the intention of information can all empower those with social anxiety to begin taking control of their sobriety and journey. Likewise, meeting with peers can also help to normalize the need for treatment in a curated space with intentions to address the needs of those with social anxiety disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder and Self-Esteem
Feeling as if an individual will always have the worst impression on another can have a profound impact on an individual’s underlying feelings of self-esteem and self-worth. This compromised sense of self can further inform the use of drugs or alcohol. These reinforced negative self-perceptions can not only make an individual more likely to turn to self-medicating practices but can also compromise a person’s motivation once they have begun their journey to sobriety, making addressing these held beliefs paramount in professional treatment.
Substance Use for Courage
Pervasive feelings of anxiety can make it difficult to fully engage in social events, even ones that are small or one-on-one meetings. Rather than trying to navigate these feelings, some with social anxiety may turn to addictive substances to release inhibitions and be more socially open in an effort to feel more accepted by others. However, this can quickly develop into a problematic coping strategy as an individual may feel the use of such substances is necessary to exist in social situations at all, facilitating further use.
Not only can this develop into an addiction, but it can also introduce further doubt in a person’s own social skills or prevent the development of social skills to begin with. This further facilitates the need for professional treatment at Hawaii Island Recovery.
Social anxiety disorder can affect many different aspects of daily life, and overcoming both social anxiety disorder and substance use disorder in tandem can be exceptionally trying. We at Hawaii Island Recovery are prepared to not just address the symptoms and challenges of social anxiety disorder but also explore how it can continue to inform the use of drugs or alcohol. Our unique approach to rehab in Hawaii is built on a holistic approach to treatment, blending proven therapeutic practices with personal needs, social needs, an accepting atmosphere, and spiritual guidance for a truly transformed life of sobriety. For information on how we can help you, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.